History of Gallaudet University for the Deaf

From Humble Beginnings, a Powerhouse Grows

University Sign Language Class
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Gallaudet University in Washington, DC was not always a University. It actually began as an elementary school. The basic facts:

  • The 1850s: Amos Kendall donates land to establish a school for the deaf and the blind (Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind )
  • 1864: President Lincoln signs the bill to authorize the school to grant college degrees. New name: National College for the Deaf and Dumb.
  • 1865: Another new name. The blind students left, and the Institution became Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, while the college became National Deaf-Mute College.
  • 1887: First women admitted to college
  • 1889: Gallaudet University Alumni Association begins
  • 1893: College becomes Gallaudet College, to honor Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.
  • 1969: Gallaudet established the Model Secondary School for the Deaf.
  • 1970: Kendall Demonstration Elementary School was established.
  • 1986: The Education of the Deaf Act awards Gallaudet the status of being a University.
  • 1988: The historic Deaf President Now movement takes place.
  • 2000–2001 School Year: Murders of two students at Gallaudet.

Books on Gallaudet History

"History of the College for the Deaf, 1857-1907" This book is a detailed history of Gallaudet, written by Edward Miner Gallaudet. 

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